Louisiana ranks 2nd in hit-and-run fatalities

Don Ames
April 27, 2018 - 8:50 am
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The number of fatal hit-and-run crashes, nationally, has been on the rise for the last ten years.

Hit-and-run crashes now kill more than 2,000 people a year in the U.S.

And, Louisiana and metro New Orleans are guilty of more than their fair share.

"Louisiana ranks second in the nation in the number of hit-and-run fatal crashes per capita...on average, about one fatality per 100,000 residents," says AAA Louisiana spokesman Don Redman.

He says most hit-and-runs occur at night, at low speeds and in poor lighting.

Redman says the incidents in metro New Orleans are mostly vehicle collisions with pedestrians and bicyclists. And, that presents a serious problem in the metro area.

"We have a lot of bicyclists in New Orleans. We did a crash analysis in New Orleans between bicyclists and motorists, and it's about 50-50," Redman says. "50 percent of the time it's the motorists' fault and 50 percent of the time it's the bicyclists' fault."

The metro area also sees heavy pedestrian traffic. "We have a Federal Task Force in New Orleans looking at pedestrian fatalities. Again, we have some of the highest numbers in the nation."

And, he sees the area's 'hospitality' as playing a large part.

"I think probably we'll find, to a great extent, it's a combination of impaired pedestrians and impaired drivers. Our area leads the nation in terms of fatal crashes that are caused by impaired drivers. Where, nationally it's 3 out of 10 fatal crashes involving an impaired driver, in our area it's 4 out of 10."

He says the impairment problem applies to drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists.

And, Redman says impairment may also be the reason a guilty party flees the scene, lacking coherent reasoning. Or, they just want to avoid legal issues.

"We have to understand that we're sharing the road with pedestrians and bicyclists. And it's on us to take responsibility, to be vigilant and see what's going on around the corner."

AAA is calling for drivers to be alert on the road in order to avoid a deadly crash and always remain on the scene if a crash occurs.
 

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